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Old 30th August 2009
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Default NRHS 1250S track day action

My aching limbs have just about recovered enough, and I've grabbed enough sleep, for me to sit down and tell you about 3 great days in France.

My mate GB from the UK Buell Forum (Sparkin' on the XLF) had been booked in for some time on a track day organised by the Dutch Buell Forum at Croix en Ternois circuit in northern France. He said I should go too. Then three of the guys from the DBF (deWALT, Speedy and Ronnie) came over to England a couple of months ago for a Buell event. We met up with them there, and they rode back with me, GB and Mo to our fastness in Norfolk. After that ride, the Dutch also reckoned I should take the Sporty onto the track. Having fitted a 1250 kit earlier this year, the bike run in and pulling strong, and me keen to test it, I didn't need much more persuading.

The event was pretty much fully booked, but Ronnie posted on the DBF that he knew an "engelsman" who wanted to ride, and Jack from the DBF gave up his place. What a star!

With a couple of weeks to go before we set off, it emerged that we'd need either race suits or zip-together leathers, plus a back protector, to get on track. I posessed neither, but, with a week and a half to go, GB called me to say a bloke he knows was selling a zip-together jacket and trousers, with built-in back protector, for £75. I tried them, they fitted, I road tested them that weekend, they felt ok (a bit bulky at first, but I soon got used to that). I'm even starting to like the style - they don't seem to look out of place on the Sporty. Next thing you know, I'll be buying a Fireblade .

So... last Thursday morning, GB and I set of for Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel train to France. Despite heavy traffic through roadworks on the M25 around London (where we made quite a few dodgy overtaking manoeuvres filtering through the traffic ) we made good time, and met up with Pash, another UKBEGer, at the motorway services near the tunnel port. We were soon in France and heading for Bethune, where Stoef from the DBF had organised rooms.
This is the view from the hotel over the main square - beautiful Flemish style buildings typical of the area, all with different gables and ornate balconies:



Pash, GB and I chill out over the first beer. Actually, these were probably taken after 2 or 3 beers, as we'd already changed out of our riding gear here ...



While we were "relaxing", another group of Dutch arrived...






With everyone settled into their rooms (thanks to Stoef for arranging the hotel, and to Arthur from the DBF for sharing a room and suffering the snoring), it was time to enjoy an al fresco meal, delivered by the delightful Emanuelle ...



After the (very good) meal, we repaired to the Irish bar across the street. True to form, the Dutch ensured that the beer did not stop flowing. I'll spare you further pictures of the carousing that followed (suffice to say I got to bed later than I'd intended) , but the morbidly curious can find pictorial evidence on the DBF and UKBEG fourms.



To be continued...

Last edited by steelworker; 31st August 2009 at 20:11..
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Old 30th August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelworker View Post

To be continued...
Please!

Outstanding pics man, love the architecture there! Must've been worth every ache I'm sure!
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Old 30th August 2009
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The tassle tractor strikes again?


I like how you were going round with a rear rack on the bike.
You should have had your water proofs strapped to it!
I would like to have seen the dice with the TL1000.
I can see you having to keep score with crotch rocket stickers to slap on your tank?


Your are going to have to call your bike the
TASSLE TRACTOR
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Old 31st August 2009
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Everytime I see you guys in Europe I hate myself for coming back to the states in 98. I would trade with you guys in a minute. I miss the motorcycle culture in Europe. All bikes, all makes, all models, and all fun. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 31st August 2009
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Check-in at the track was between 07.30 and 08.30 the next morning, so, after a too-short night's rest, we were out on the street early the next morning. It had rained during the night, and the streets were still wet. That didn't stop the crazy Dutch leading us on a fairly spirited (for that time of morning) 20 mile ride to the track.

The Sporty was attracting quite a lot of attention in the paddock. You don't see many Harleys on race tracks in Europe!

We checked in, got allocated numbers and groups (GB in the "fast" group, Pash and I in the "slow" group), grabbed a coffee and trudged into a marquee for the track briefing. The event management company and most of the riders being Dutch, the lengthy briefing was unintelligible to us three Brits. Not to worry, though - Ronnie gave us his concise version: "No wheelies, no burnouts."

Here's the track:



It's a short track, and easily learned; but there's not much opportunity to take a breather. I was reaching 110-115mph down the start/finish staight, then changing down from 5th gear to 2nd for the "virage magguy". All of the bends on the track needed a late turn-in, and most were approaching the first from wide on the left of the track. I found I could take a much tighter line through here, the leverage from the wide bars of the Sporty giving an advantage through the twisty section of the circuit. I passed many other riders under braking here, the Harrison calipers performing impeccably, and I didn't suffer from the brake fade that many of the Buellers did.
From the first bend, I was accelerating through 3rd and 4th gears, then changing down to 3rd for "virage de l'ecole" (which we renamed "the carrousel"). From here, I stayed in 3rd all the way to "l'epingle" at the beginning of the start/finish straight. The torque and wide spread of power from the 1250 motor (and a 7500rpm rev limiter) was perfect here. Through "virage de l'ecole" I could maintain good corner speed (though scraping my left peg and boot - more of that later) and get great punch out of the bend towards "virage de la ferme", then brake hard for the bend, again passing a lot of other riders here bytaking a tight line and going wide on the exit for the short blast up to "virage du pont".

This section from virage magguy through to the exit from virage de la ferme was visible from the paddock, where the Dutch were apparently cheering and laughing every time I passed someone. The poor victims also got a severe ribbing when they got back to the pits for getting "Harleyed".
Virage du pont was the one place on the circuit I couldn't seem to get right all day. There's a bit of a dip as you go into it, which upset the suspension just enough to make me wary of going in too hard. Later in the day, the wind picked up and everyone was getting hit by it as we emerged from under the bridge. Form here, though "courbe de croix" is a beautiful sweeping left hander (not sure what speed through here, but I'd guess 80-90mph, and scraping my left peg and boot again), accelerating hard all the way and then changing down to 2nd gear for "l'epingle", a tight hairpin bend leading onto the start/finish straight.

Anyway, that's enough talking - here's a load of pictures...





















This was without doubt the best fun I've had in ages , and highly addictive. It was definitely competitive out there, but everyone was very courteous to each other, with no desperate stuffing-it-up-the-inside manoeuvres. Most of us had ridden there, on our one and only bike, and wanted to ride home again. If you like to use your bike hard on the road, I strongly recommend you get yourself on a track day.

That's all the track pictures. More paddock pics and Friday night pictures to follow.

Last edited by steelworker; 31st August 2009 at 20:18..
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Old 31st August 2009
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cool pic's !! thanks!!
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Old 31st August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEEP DIVER View Post
The tassle tractor strikes again?


I like how you were going round with a rear rack on the bike.
You should have had your water proofs strapped to it!
I would like to have seen the dice with the TL1000.
I can see you having to keep score with crotch rocket stickers to slap on your tank?

Your are going to have to call your bike the
TASSLE TRACTOR
Ronnie and GB were trying to fix up some fake tassles they could duct tape to my leathers to take the piss even more.

Linda from the DBF has posted some vids on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJdPpabrPJ0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvffQSlTuZA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WckEPGSJjA
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Old 31st August 2009
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Some photos from the paddock:

GB and Ronnie ready to go out and play with the fast group. Ronnie, on his 1125R, was easily the fastest on track all day. The track Marshall, on an Aprilia V4, overtook him once, so Ronnie took him back.
He was messing about at one stage outbraking GB at the end of the main straight, with his back wheel a foot off the ground, and went straight into the gravel trap.


"Gissa fag, mate". GB scrounges another smoke from the long-suffering deWALT.


Ronnie and GB chillin'


Harley... plus some other bikes



Jack and Arthur from the DBF:


GB's X1:


X1 and a beautiful Norvil Combat Commando:



It's a fricken' Velocette, ferchrissakes!!



Pretty little CB350 Honda:


Batman and Robin:

Last edited by steelworker; 31st August 2009 at 01:50..
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Old 31st August 2009
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Great pics!! and trip!! thanks much for sharing

Definitely rep worthy
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Old 31st August 2009
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One thing more I should have mentioned in my first post:

I gave the Sporty a good clean on the Tuesday afternoon. My mate Mo was round at mine late that evening, hanging out in my garage chatting over a mug of tea while I set about touching up the white lettering on the sidewalls of my tyres (it's a seventies thing - humour me will ya?). I'd done the front and half the rear, then rolled the bike back a bit to get at the rest of the lettering. It was at this point that I noticed a nail head in the middle of my rear tyre - "", says I... With us booked on a ferry on the Thursday, I had the next day to find a replacement and get it fitted.

First thing in the morning, I started phoning round tyre dealers and bike dealers trying to find someone who had a MT90-16 Avon Road Rider in stock. Not a hope in hell! Many said they could get one in the following day, but that was no good to me.

My old mate MrB also has a '98 1200S, but he's hardly ridden it for the past 5 years or so, as he's too tall to feel comfortable on it and prefers to ride his Triumph Tiger trailie. I'd previously borrowed a throttle cable from his Sporty when mine snapped, I needed one in a hurry, and the local dealer didn't have one in stock. So I phoned him at work and asked for another favour. "Which part of my bike are you going to take this time?" he asks He now refers to his Sporty as "the donor bike".

He was only too pleased to help out, and I have a key to his house / garage, so Mo and I went round and "liberated" his entire rear wheel, complete with barely used Avon Super Venom tyre.

I'll give it back to him, of course. I'm just a bit unsure how to explain how this happened to his tyre:





And this is my front Road Rider:



Last edited by steelworker; 31st August 2009 at 20:49..
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